[EDITORIALS]Assembly shows its priorities

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[EDITORIALS]Assembly shows its priorities

The National Assembly last Friday demonstrated the attitude with which our legislators attend to the affairs of the country. It passed a motion to redraw electoral districts while ignoring 20 other bills concerning public welfare. The bills ignored included a motion to provide support for farmers and fishermen in the aftermath of the free trade agreement with Chile, a motion to provide assistance for the engineering and technology sector, an anti-prostitution act and a measure to provide for the establishment of a fire service agency. These are all urgent motions that should be dealt with promptly.
The most ridiculous aspect is that the National Assembly was unable to pass these motions because not enough legislators were present. As soon as the proposal on the electoral districts passed, most of them left ― many of them, ironically, to visit constituents and tell them how diligently they were doing their jobs.
The assembly’s Culture and Tourism Committee also behaved outrageously regarding the proposal to revise the broadcasting act to provide for satellite digital media broadcasting(DMB). Satellite DMB is a next-generation industry expected to create 9 trillion won ($7.6 billion) in production inducement, 6 trillion won in added value and moe than 184,000 new jobs in the next 10 years. If the National Assembly does not pass the revision in this session, the DMB schedule will be delayed, related businesses will lose more than a trillion won and thousands will lose the prospect of new jobs. The urgency of the issue had propelled the related firms to warn that 71 start-up businesses could go bankrupt unless Assembly passes the bill promptly. Yet the committee did not even discuss the issue, instead spending its entire meeting arguing about collecting television receiving fees.
The 16th National Assembly will end Tuesday. Bills not passed by then will be automatically abrogated; they will have to go through the legislative process from the beginning, after the next assembly is elected. It is our hope that the 16th Assembly, which has set the record for most legislators indicted and has been criticized for abusing its privileges to shield lawbreakers in its midst, will come to its senses for at least one day and pass these bills to benefit the public welfare.
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